What exactly is a Cope and Stick Cabinet Door, and how are they made?

Generally speaking there are two major categories of Cabinet Doors. These are Solid Slab, or plank doors, and 5-piece doors.
The Slab door is simply several boards edge-glued and trimmed to the desired size.
The 5-piece door is more complex but more reliable and more pleasing in appearance.
5-piece cabinet doors are divided into two design categories; Cope and Stick and Mitered.
This post covers the Cope and Stick, 5-piece cabinet door.

The five pieces in a Cope and Stick door are the four parts of the frame, called Stiles and Rails. The Stiles are the vertical pieces, or sides, of the frame and the Rails are the top and bottom pieces. The fifth piece of the 5-piece door is the panel, which the frame surrounds.

The reason the 5-piece door is more reliable than the Slab door is in the way each design responds to changes in relative humidity.
All woods will expand as humidity increases, and as humidity decreases they will contract. An average width Slab Cabinet Door, being between 14 and 20 inches wide, will expand and contract as humidity cycles over the year by as much as three-sixteenths-inches. Some wood types react more and some less, but three-sixteenths-inches is typical for a Slab door.
While this may not sound like much, it is enough to prevent butt-door pairs from closing during high humidity times.

Here is where the 5-piece design comes to the rescue.
In the 5-piece door the panel is allowed to float within the frame, so during panel expansion the panel edges simply move deeper into the Stiles and during contraction the panel slightly pulls back. The Cope and Stick door is designed with a groove in the stiles so panel movement is accepted without being noticed, and without changing the size of the door.

The top drawing shows an end-view of the stile with a contracted wood (low humidity) panel, while the drawing below shows a humidity-expanded panel.
Notice that the panel still reacts dimensionally with changes in humidity but in the 5-piece door this panel movement is absorbed by the groove in the stiles. This design keeps the overall width of the door constant as the relative humidity fluctuates.

Cope and Stick doors differ from the other 5-piece design by the method of joining the frame. This drawing shows the difference between the Mitered joint and the Cope and Stick joint. See the post on What is a Mitered Cabinet Door for more info.

Cope and Stick cabinet doors can be priced and ordered online from CabinetDoors.com and Mitered cabinet doors here.

Cabinet Doors 101: measure openings, install hinges, hanging and alignment.

Shaker Cabinet Doors Click to visit our Shaker Door Page

Search

CabinetDoors.Com is proud to have an A+ BBB Rating

Your Cart
Cart is empty
Customer Reviews

Your Youtube videos are outstanding. You made measuring and hanging my new doors a snap. Thank you. Jen A.

I ordered new cabinet doors for my upper cabinets in my kitchen. They needed to match the bottom doors. Thanks to your very knowledgeable staff, I got perfect doors--the grain matched, the trim matched, and the hardware is outstanding. I am delighted and would recommend this company without reservation. Thank you for an outstanding product. Madge S.

My order of cabinet doors was delivered today, and I could not be more pleased. They are BEAUTIFUL. Thank you so much for making a great product.Stacy K.

I'm a home re-modeling handyman and I just finished a kitchen remodel using your Shaker Doors. This was my first order from you and the sizes and overall quality are much better than my prior supplier. You helped my make my customer very happy.Mike B.

This was my 4th kitchen re-model with your cabinet doors and, just like before, the doors were perfect. The workmanship is top notch and the sanding was exceptional. My 5th kitchen job is scheduled for August and I'll be ordering from you again. You make a great door.Kent's Kitchens

We ordered replacement doors for our 60-year-old home and were very pleased with the product. The milling was of the highest quality. The joinery was very well done, and the wood selection was obviously done by a professional who cares what the finished product looks like. It is one thing to assemble a project with technical skill, and another thing entirely to accomplish the assembly with an eye toward bringing the best out of the wood being used. Both aspects were accomplished, and at a very high level! The dimensions were absolutely perfect. Each door was correctly dimensioned to within less than 1/16 of an inch. It was very pleasing to see this attention to detail, especially since I took the time to measure my cabinets twice, making sure I had done my part. I had never worked with white birch before, and when I saw the issues with staining the wood (soft grain with blotchy absorption of the stain) I was a bit worried. I had no problems at all because the wood was of a higher quality white birch that had been properly handled at the mill and sanded to a stain-ready finish. A good sanding sealer was applied, and then the stain. The results were EXCELLENT! All-in-all, we received a great product, great advice and excellent customer service from CabinetDoors.com. We would certainly recommend them to anyone looking for cabinet doors. Nice job, everyone! Michael R.

The doors arrived today and fit perfectly. Thank you very much. I will be ordering the remaining 18 doors and 6 drawer fronts in the next couple of months. Walter W.

I remodel kitchens for a living and I can only say...I wish I had found you sooner. These are the overall BEST cabinet Doors I have ever installed. Excellent quality and workmanship. Jake A.

Your cabinet doors are much higher quality than the doors that were installed by our home builder. There is really no comparison, you make a GREAT product. Al N.

The contractor remodeling our kitchen was so impressed with the doors we ordered from your website that he is going to use your doors for all his future jobs. Marcia N.

Your cabinet doors, and the finishing tips in your blog, made my kitchen remodel look GREAT. I recommend your doors to everyone. Kay H.

Hi, I have received my 1 door, and I feel like I received the same quality service and product as if it were 50 doors. I am very pleased with a beautiful door delivered as promised. Thanks, David H.

Although I haven't bought the cabinet doors for my kitchen remodeling project yet, I will be making my purchase from cabinetdoors.com. Your site, and especially your Blog, has more useful information than I've found anywhere else on the internet. The information you provide is exceptional and you have helped to give me the confidence to take-on this project. Nancie D.

We took your advice and ordered the smallest door in our kitchen to see your quality...which is absolutely great...Now we are ordering the rest of the kitchen and bath doors. Don & Barb B.

These cabinet doors are PERFECT! Super high quality and right-on size. Harry D.

So glad we remodeled our kitchen with your doors, instead of doors from the hardware chain. You saved us over 35%. The doors arrived in 12 days, (including 4 Fedex shipping days). The hardware chain quoted 28 days, and your quality is far better than their samples. Mark H.

These doors are EXCELLENT! In quality and workmanship and value. Very glad we found you. James L.

A friend put me onto your website and I can't thank her enough. You make an excellent product and I'm completely happy with everything about my purchase. Paula B.

I am very satisfied with these doors. The quality is GREAT!. Alex D.

Very nice cabinet doors, the color matching and the sizes are right-on. Paul L.

Your customer service is fantastic. Somehow you spotted an error I made on my order (I reversed width and height on one door) and called me to ask if the size was correct. Your attention to detail prevented me from ordering one of my doors wrong. Thank you so much. Bryan E.

Shipping Times

Fedex or UPS Shipping time from our factory to you.

Our production time is 7-10 days. Just add shipping to your state for your expected delivery date.

Delivery times

For shipping times to Mexico and Canada Please call.

My Profile
Wood Selection